Simple guidelines for preventing lower back problemsÂ
Lower back pain often results from reduced levels of activity and flexibility, strain and injury from sudden movement, and general deconditioning of the back muscles resulting from poor posture.
Weak back muscles not only leave you prey to injury, they also make it more difficult to recover if you are injured.
An exercise plan that carefully targets the lower back will improve your physical conditioning, with the added bonus of helping you move efficiently and learn body awarenessâ€”both keys to lumbar injury prevention.
If you choose the right exercises to condition the lower back you will improve and strengthen your lower back, and reduce the risk of injury and pain, speed recovery, and prevent re-injury.
We recommend you start any back muscle building regimen with gentle strengthening exercises including stretches that target your spine, core and legs. This is because the core and led muscles play a key role in supporting and maintaining a strong and healthy lower back.
Three stretch exercises to prevent lower back pain:
- Abdominals and Hip Flexors. Use the Russian Twist to increases abdominal endurance and strengthen the hip flexors. Sit with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lift up through your torso. Raise your arms parallel to the floor so that your hands are outstretched above your knees. Rotate your upper body to the right, reaching toward the floor with your hands. Pass through the center and rotate to the left. Repeat ten times on each side. iGlimpse Tip: keep your feet planted on the floor as you twist and squeeze your knees together, whilst keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed. Avoid shifting your feet or knees to the sides as you twist. Warning: not advisable if you have neck issues or lower-back pain.
- Lower Back and Hips. Use the knee to chest hug to increase stretch the lower back and increase flexibility in the hip extensors and hip rotators. Lie supine on a mat with your legs together and arms outstretched. Bend your right knee, and bring your foot to your bodyâ€™s midline while clasping your hands together to hold your knee. Hold the stretch for fifteen seconds. Return to the starting position. Again, clasping your hands together to hold your knee, bend your right knee, but this time rotate the right leg to the left, bringing the side of your leg against your chest. Hold the stretch for fifteen seconds, and then return to the starting position. Repeat the entire sequence with the left leg bent. iGlimpse Tip: Keep your spine in a neutral position and avoid lifting your buttocks off the floor. Warning: not advisable if you suffer from advanced degenerative joint disease.
- Hips and Spine. Do the Swimming exercise to strengthen hip and spine extensors. Lie prone on the floor with your legs hip-width apart. Stretch your arms upward beside your ears on the floor. Engage your pelvic floor, and draw your belly button in toward your spine. Extend through your upper back as you lift your left arm and right leg simultaneously. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Lower your arm and leg to the starting position, maintaining a stretch in your limbs throughout. Extend your right arm and left leg off the floor, lengthening and lifting your head and shoulders. Elongate your limbs as you return to the starting position. Repeat six to eight times. iGlimpse Tip: extend your limbs as long as possible in opposite directions, tightly squeeze your buttocks and draw your navel into your spine whilst keeping your neck long and relaxed throughout the exercise. Warning: not advisable if you have curvature of the upper spine or lower spine.
These lower back and core exercises are taken from The Prevent Lower Back Pain App which provides a variety of targeted exercises that stretch, strengthen, and stabilize important muscles and ligaments that support your lower back. To get the full benefit of these exercises check out the full colour illustrations and anatomical diagrams showing which muscles are working during each exercise. Itâ€™s a complete program that includes stretches, balance and posture exercises as well as warm-ups and cool-downs to get rid of your pain and regain flexibility and strength.
The exercises are authored by Dr Philip Striano, a certified chiropractic sports physician and strength and conditioning specialist.
Our content is not intended to substitute the diagnosis and advice of a doctor, chiropractic or physician. Consult a physician before starting any exercise or nutritional program. Please view our disclosure page.
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